Where to begin?
I believe that a lot of us alcoholics have led double lives, at least at times. For me, it was working in a very straight and conservative environment. First, in the public school system as a PE teacher and football coach, then in the oil business. Neither of those allowed a way of life where I could feel comfortable being myself. Certainly not in the school system back in the mid-1970's in Houston, Texas. My 20-year career in the oil industry involved working with hundreds of guys in the offshore part of the business. Many were rough, tough rednecks from the south. Most others I knew were at least on the conservative side of thinking.
Combined with my sensitivites of what others might think of me, neither of those areas of employment provided a venue where I could be myself. As a result, most of my adult life I was the straight-acting, sports-loving, heavy-drinking and usually pretty much fun guy to be around. Rarely, if ever, did I inject talk about women and dating. I told the good joke when I could think of one. Steers and queers types of jokes. I had to fit in.
So as a gay man I could rarely be me. I thought I had to be who you wanted me to be. I was pretty damn good at it. But I had another life as well.
By age 18 I knew I was gay. College was fun. Lots of drinking, lots of free sex. I didn't date girls, of course. But I didn't date guys either since I was heavily involved in sports. From 1977 (age 23), I lived in Montrose, the accepted gay section in Houston. I often had gay roommates. I went to the gay bars. Every night. I had gay boyfriends. I learned to separate my personal life from my professional life. It worked quite well for me during those formative years.
Then, in 1988 at the age of 34, I began working overseas. An Escape.
link to part 2